Common Web Application Security Mistakes to Avoid

By Emily Pribanic - Last Updated on June 4, 2020
Security Mistakes in Web Applications to Avoid

Understand these common security mistakes to be better equipped to avoid them.

When you understand common mistakes web developers are making, you’ll be able to avoid them. Avoiding common mistakes will help set your application apart from your competitors.

Security on the web is essential for all companies to be savvy about. Due to the large number of things to worry about when it comes to being secure on the web, it is important to understand how to protect your site against security breaches and attacks. The major issues in web development begin with the code used to create your web page.

Common Security Mistakes in Web Applications

One of the top web application development issues is cross-site scripting or XSS. XSS is an attack in which a user is tricked into executing code from an attacker’s site. This is a problem because the attacker can then use the code you’ve uploaded onto your site to steal contents from the user.

The attacker can then impersonate the user and send spam from their account. The attacker could also use the original user’s site to upload malware onto anyone’s computer that visits the site. Any site that is open to XSS attacks is ensuring that its users’ data isn’t safe.

Cross-site request forgery, or CSRF, is another one of the challenges facing web development. This is an attack where a malicious site tricks its visitors into carrying out an action on their site. This can happen when a user is logged into a site they use frequently, like Facebook, then visits a malicious site without logging out of their Facebook account. Malicious sites can do bad things on a user’s behalf if they’re using a site that’s susceptible to CSRF attacks. The best way to correct a web design mistake like this is to use a single token tied to the user. This token can only be issued to a user that is signed in and is based on the user’s account.

Other web development challenges include click-jacking and phishing. Click-jacking gained a great deal of attention many years ago when Twitter and Facebook were affected. These two major social media platforms spread this quickly because these platforms are highly sociable. With click-jacking, users are tricked into clicking on a link they don’t intend to click on. Frame busting is a popular way to protect against click-jacking but this isn’t a fool-proof solution.

Phishing is the process where an attacker tricks a user into handing over their login credentials or other personal, confidential information. Many attackers use email messages to trick unsuspecting users, but Facebook and similar sites can also be used. Attackers use sites that look identical to sites a user normally logs into, so these users are unsuspecting that the site they are handing their personal information to is malicious. User training is the most effective way to protect users from phishing techniques used by cybercriminals.

Common Mistakes Web Developers Makes

Understanding common mistakes made by web developers will allow you, as a web developer yourself, to avoid these mistakes and to become a better developer. Listed below are the top ten most common mistakes made by web developers that you should avoid.

  • Incomplete Input Validation
  • Authentication Without Proper Authorization
  • Creating a Product That is Not Ready to Scale
  • Missing SEO
  • Time Consuming Actions in Request Handlers
  • Not Optimizing Bandwidth Usage
  • Not Developing for Different Screen Sizes
  • Cross Browser Incompatibility
  • Not Planning for Portability
  • RESTful Anti Patterns


Understanding these common mistakes made by web developers and security mistakes in web applications will allow you to better avoid these crippling errors. When you better understand what not to do when it comes to developing web applications, the more equipped you’ll be to avoid these common mistakes and create a better application for your customers.

Emily Pribanic | Emily is a graduate of the University of North Texas. She has her B.A. in Advertising with a concentration in Copywriting. Emily has been writing since she was young and has a creative imagination. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her family and two cats.

Emily Pribanic | Emily is a graduate of the University of North Texas. She has her B.A. in Advertising with a concentration in Copywriting. Emily has been writing s...

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